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The Saga of Sam Phillips

July 22, 2001

How can Sam Phillips have failed when she's never really tried ("The Power of Failure," by Randy Lewis, July 15)? I have followed her career for 15 years: She rarely tours; when she does perform, she stands absurdly still and never connects with her audience. She is an artistic hothouse flower, once nurtured and now smothered by her producer-husband, T Bone Burnett.

All this angst and doubt that she expresses in her albums and interviews are a little troubling coming from a 39-year-old. Quite frankly, that was an overly long article about a person I'm not sure even believes what she says.

MARTIN ZAEHRINGER

Ventura

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I've been a fan of Sam's since 1989, when WMAD-FM in Madison, Wis., played "Holding On to the Earth."

Alas, over the years I watched, baffled as, CD after CD, Sam didn't break into the big time like Tori Amos and Alanis Morissette. But I waved my flag for Sam, sang the praises of "Cruel Inventions" and "Martinis & Bikinis" to all who'd listen and hopefully convert. I even cheered and turned up the volume on my TV when I heard Sam's "I Need Love" recently on a commercial for some trendy designer fragrance.

I'm excited to hear her new CD "Fan Dance." And, if I had it my way, it would be as huge as July 1's Calendar cover darlings, Destiny's Child. Something makes me think Sam Phillips knows a lot more about the word "survivor" than they do.

MICHELLE PARISI

Santa Monica

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